Turnovers, missed free throws and poor defense by the Harvard women's basketball squad turned a first half 30-11 runaway into an absurd 57-53 double overtime victory over Northeastern last night in the IAB.
Five minutes into the game it looked as if the sparse crowd in the leaky fourth-floor gym would be safely ensconced before their T.V. sets long before the Dolphins-Colts 9 p.m. kickoff. The Crimson zone defense kept the poor-shooting Huskies well out of range and Caryn Curry and Wendy Carle were able to score at will over the Northeastern zone.
And by the end of the first half Bert Jones seemed even closer for the hapless Huskies were able to tally only 11 points to the Crimson's 30. Curry popped for 12 points and Meyers for six to lead the Crimson in what appeared to be a laugher.
But, as the famous sports adage goes, the game is never over until the final whistle and one shouldn't count ones' Bob Greises before they're hatched. After Hildy Meyers notched the opening basket of the second half the Crimson took the classic dive and gave up 18 consecutive points to Northeastern to put the score at 32-29 with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Northeastern's Paula Sternite and Beth Peterson scored six points apiece in the debacle but the key to the Husky rally (or Crimson fold) was Harvard's listless play. The Crimson defenders kept their hands at their sides and couldn't move their feet fast enough to keep up with the Husky's perimeter passing which resulted in open shots from the free-throw line for Sterite and Peterson.
Northeastern had switched to a man-to-man defense at halftime and the Harvard cagers were dismally unable to adjust. The Crimson brought the ball upcourt and set up in a one-two-two offense but the Huskies closed off the wings and the Crimson failed to penetrate. Frustrated, Harvard forced passes time and again which resulted in many turnovers and few shots.
Only when Curry took the ball one-on-one to the hoop were the Crimson able to break the scoring drought as she hit on three consecutive drives to put the score at 43-37 with 3:05 remaining.
But the Crimson continued to struggle on defense and Peterson stayed hot and with 1:35 remaining the game was tied at 43.
From that point on the game was simply chaos. Northeastern's Marie Usseglio hit the first half of a one-and-one to put the Huskies ahead. Curry turned the ball over and Northeastern kicked it out of bounds. The referee made the wrong call and Usseglio hit the first end again. Carle sunk two free throws to tie the score and Cosell be damned it was overtime.
In the overtime the quality of game improved little but the score kept the fans, bolstered by an impatient intramural crowd, waiting for the end. Karen Spencer notched a lay-up, then Peterson made good on four straight free throws for the Huskies. But Sue Field replied with one free throw, missed the second, then was fouled again and sunk the first end of the one-and-one with a rollodrome special. But this time, down with Meredith, she missed the second end and it was double overtime.
Well, the Crimson apparently decided to end the nonsense and spare everyone the agony of triple overtime for Carle hit for three and Meyers for four in the final stanza, boosting the Crimson to 2-1 on the season and sending the Huskies home losers.